Concrete Ways to Change the Way You Think and Behave in Certain Situations
Your mind is made up of two components - the conscious and subconscious (or unconscious) mind. The conscious mind controls everything that you are aware of and is often likened to the tip of the iceberg as it is actually only a fraction of the mind. The subconscious is the largest part of the mind and it’s the rest of the iceberg that’s hidden from view.
Your subconscious stores all your memories, sights, sounds, smells and beliefs. Everything you experience is stored away and programs you in the way you think about and respond to it.
Have you noticed you react in a certain way when the situation arises?
For example, when your manager calls you into her office to talk over your project or your monthly stats, you take it personally. Before you know it, your whole day is spent second-guessing yourself and you feel a headache coming on. You take the rest of the afternoon off and go home. Could there be a possibility that your manager is trying to understand your day-to-day duties or requires a better explanation or results-based evidence on your project?
Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence expert, calls it Emotional Hijacking – a situation where emotions hijack our typical thinking process.
So how do we stop Emotional Hijacking?
You have to train your brain by taking the time to understand why you reacted that way you did so you can respond differently the next time your manager calls you into her office. This is how you build resilience in the workplace!
Justin Bariso, author of EQ Applied: The Real World Guide to Emotional Intelligence states that you can start by using these self-reflection questions:
- What made me react the way I did?
- What would I change if I could do it again?
- What could I say to myself that would help me think more clearly?
These questions will help you understand your emotional behaviour and change how your brain processes these type of situations.
In my previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned the idea of reframing where you place a different context or see how the situation can be useful. For example:
- You’re finding it difficult to work on your project and your regular day-to-day duties. This would be an excellent time to ask if some of the regular day-to-day duties can be delegated to someone else.
- What if your manager has to report her team’s stats to her boss and she’s finding a way to make you look good?
Remember, you’ve conditioned your subconscious mind to process in a certain way, but now you can reverse that cycle with Emotional Flexibility – a term coined by an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) trainer.
Mental programming allows the connections between triggers and events to be changed in your subconscious. Athletes use this process all the time to compete better than they did the last time.
As Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts, and you can change your world."